Immortal and a member of the Sinistra Dei, a secret order designed to eliminate threats to the Vatican, Giovanna was created to do the dirty work of the Church. This requires creative thinking and the ability to tap dance on the line between right and wrong.
As the commander she loves slowly sinks into insanity, she learns that dark immortals–the Execrati dedicated to destroying her kind– have snuck into New Orleans’ legendary French Quarter to hunt her friends. With the further discovery that one of Rome’s own has faked his death, and the unexpected evolution of her supernatural powers, Gia is no longer able to play by the rules.
How can she defy the man she loves, break the trust of a close friend, and explain the new set of wings on her back?
The answer is simple… she can’t.
Book 1 of the Sinistra Dei series
Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst
The thought of supernatural creatures working on behalf of the Catholic Church, instead of the Church looking to condemn and execute them, is such an interesting twist and breath of fresh air, that I had to pick up Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst. I needed to see how this would work, and boy was I pleased. This was such a great read that really hit a spot I hadn’t known needed to be filled. The writing and style really reminded me of both old school Vampire Chronicles, which is a given considering both take place in New Orleans, and of the first few Anita Blake novels.
Now, I wouldn’t say this is a slow-burn type book. But, it’s pacing isn’t the fastest. It isn’t slow, but steady and builds up with the action. Hearst starts by letting us ease into the situation, the location, the world. She finds a good rhythm between giving us action, sexual tension, and background information all at once while still keeping steady, never overwhelming. The location descriptions are fantastic, really making me feel like I’m back in New Orleans, which is a great thing to feel as it definitely plays a role in the story, almost feeling like an extra character.
Like New Orleans, all of the characters come with a heavy background already in place. Complex and full of history, they feel set in their ways and very real. Don’t expect sudden spurts of character growth as they all feel very matured, perhaps save the younger two characters of the group, for obvious reasons. Gia is a likable protagonist, though there was a point that had me rage quitting my kindle because I thought please, don’t be this stupid. Lochlan played his role well, and I kinda wish we could get more of him, but past him to see how he became who he is. While Torben, woo, I loved Torben. Loved him too too much. And boy, the sex in the book was delicious. Yes, there’s sex. If you didn’t pick that up from my comparison to Anita Blake, then you are sheltered when it comes to the vampire fiction world of adults.
By the end, new elements are introduced that really start adding in the actual mystery part of the novel. Unfortunately, all of these new questions are left unanswered, likely to entice readers into picking up the sequel (which I will probably do). But it does leave you feeling a bit confused as to what is happening and why it’s happening all of a sudden. You want to know what’s happening and aren’t completely sure the author knows just yet where to lead you. That’s the slightest complaint, but as I said, it’s likely just to entice readers to the sequel.
Feast of the Epiphany by Kathryn M Hearst is an enjoyable and sexy vampire novel with a new twist, great defined characters, and gorgeous descriptions. If you’re a fan of the original few Vampire Chronicles or first sixish Anita Blake books, this is definitely something you’d enjoy!